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Close calls and financial flame-outs marked 2022 election

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Oregon Capital Bureau

Three weeks after Election Day, we’re still learning details of election close calls, financial flame-outs and the start of the organizing of the congressional and legislative sessions in early 2023.

Chavez-DeRemer won’t move into district

U.S. Rep.-elect Lori Chavez-DeRemer, R-Clackamas, doesn’t plan on moving into the congressional district she will represent. “Lori was elected to serve the community where she has built her family, her business, and her career in public service,” said campaign spokesman Jihun Han. That’s OK according to the U.S. Constitution. U.S. House members don’t have to live in the district they represent, just the state. Chavez-DeRemer lives in Happy Valley, about one mile northeast of the northeastern edge of the 5th Congressional District. Her residence is in the 3rd Congressional District, represented by Democrat Earl Blumenauer of Portland. One quirk: Chavez-DeRemer couldn’t vote for herself in the Nov. 8 election. Neither could her Democratic opponent, Jamie McLeod-Skinner. The Terrebonne attorney lives in a portion of Crooked River Ranch that is in Jefferson County, in the 2nd Congressional District represented by Republican Cliff Bentz of Ontario.

Phil Knight’s lost bets on governor’s race 

The Bloomberg Billionaires index gives a daily tally of the richest of the rich in the world. Elon Musk is ranked No. 1 with an estimated worth of $180 billion. Nike co-founder Phil Knight of Beaverton, Oregon’s richest person, comes in as of Monday at No. 29, with a worth of $40.5 billion. So the $4.75 million Knight spent to back losing governor candidates Betsy Johnson ($3.75 million) and Christine Drazan ($1 million) is only a little over .01% of his total worth. Bloomberg reports it has been a (relatively) lousy year for Knight’s finances. His overall wealth has dropped by $21.8 billion — about one-third of his total worth — since the beginning of 2022 as the consumer market has softened for Nike’s products. That’s the 10th biggest amount among the world’s billionaires, and Musk tops the drop-off list as well, with his worth falling $90 billion so far in 2022. No. 2 on the drop-off list is Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, who has lost two-thirds of his worth, dropping from $126 billion to $42.5 billion.

Oregon Senate close calls

The unofficial final count of voting for the Oregon Senate has Democrats holding a 17-13 majority, down one seat from their current majority. Medford City Councilor Kevin Stine tweeted how close Republicans came to attaining a 15-15 tie in the Oregon Senate. “Republicans lost a seat by less than 1% and another by 4%. Wins there would have tied control. Especially bad for them as they are mostly playing defense in 2024 State Senate races.” Democrat Mark Meek defeated incumbent Sen. Bill Kennemer, R-Oregon City, in Senate District 20 in the closest race. Sen. Jeff Golden, D-Ashland, survived a strong challenge from Medford Mayor Randy Sparacino in Senate District 3. The partisan breakdown officially would be 17 Democrats and 11 Republicans. Sen. Brian Boquist of Dallas was last elected as a Republican in 2020, but left the party and registered as an Independent after internal GOP rifts. Sen. Art Robinson of Cave Junction does not caucus with Republicans, but remains a member of the party and lists himself as an “independent Republican.” Both Boquist and Robinson continue to vote with the Republicans on most issues.

Democrats’ Oregon loss among closest congressional races

Chavez-DeRemer’s 2% margin of victory was the 7th closest race lost by Democrats in the 2022 election. The results returned control of the U.S. House to Republicans, who lost it in the 2018 election. The projected 222-213 GOP majority includes five races won by less than 1%, with Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colorado, winning the closest race, holding onto her seat by 0.2%.

Circle these dates

The U.S. Senate’s final partisan split will be decided Dec. 6 with the runoff in Georgia between Sen. Raphael Warnock, the Democrat, and GOP challenger Herschel Walker.

Final 2022 election vote counts are to be submitted by county clerks to the Secretary of State by Dec. 6. The Secretary of State will issue a final “declaration of the election of candidates” on Dec. 15.

The Oregon Legislature will hold interim task force and committee hearings Dec. 6-9. Other than Senate confirmation of nominations to state boards and commissions submitted by Gov. Kate Brown, the panels cannot take official action. The lawmakers can discuss “legislative concepts” and some committee bills — those submitted without a single sponsor — can be “pre-filed” to begin the legislative process on the first day of the 2023 session on Jan. 17.

Tina Kotek will be sworn-in as Oregon’s governor on Jan. 9.

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